WCA Commends Rep. Nygren, Sens. Darling & Fitzgerald for Passage of Bill that Expands TAD Program

With unanimous passage of Assembly Bill 668 by the State Assembly last week, the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) is commending Representative John Nygren and Senators Alberta Darling and Scott Fitzgerald for their work in guiding the Treatment, Alternatives, and Diversion bill through the legislative process.

“This is a very important bill for our counties and gives them the tools to be able to expand the TAD program by increasing grants by $1.5 million in each year of the current biennium,” said WCA Executive Director Mark D. O'Connell. “Because of the work of Representative Nygren and Senators Darling and Fitzgerald, this additional funding will allow more counties to receive TAD grants.

The Treatment, Alternatives, and Diversion grant program was created in 2005 to encourage counties to develop comprehensive, evidence-based approaches to preventing crime, reducing recidivism and reducing incarceration costs by offering deferred prosecution and alternatives to incarceration programs to offenders with alcohol or other drug abuse problems.

The 2013-15 state biennial budget increased funding for county TAD programs by $1 million annually and funding for new drug courts by $500,000 annually. In response to this increased funding, 36 counties applied for TAD grants and treatment court grants.

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice announced it had awarded TAD and drug court grants to 12 counties and one tribe. The Department of Justice determined, however, that a number of additional counties who applied for the new grants were “shovel-ready” with projects that could proceed if more grant money were available.

“TAD projects have been proven to save money and reduce crime,” said O'Connell. “We are incredibly grateful to Representative Nygren, Senator Darling and Senator Fitzgerald for their leadership and partnership with even more counties to find lasting treatment options. Our government affairs staff looks forward to continuing our work with them to successfully pass this bill before the State Senate.”

A 2011 independent evaluation of the first seven TAD projects by the UW Population Health Institute found that every $1 spent on TAD saved taxpayers $1.93 in future incarceration costs. The study also found that 76 percent of TAD participants had not been convicted of a new offense within one year of completing the program, and offenders who completed a TAD program were nine times less likely overall to go to prison than those who did not complete the program.

AB 668 is expected to go before the State Senate on March 11, 2014.


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